VRBO Damage Predicament

Old Jun 24, 15, 1:55 pm
  #1  
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VRBO Damage Predicament

Long story but I'm stuck on where to go next.

I had a 3 night stay at a VRBO where we held a wedding. A couple days after checkout the property manager mentioned damage to the bathroom walls. A couple weeks later he mentioned damage to a couple other walls, altogether equaling $4700 which was covered by a $5k VRBO property damage policy. Not sure if the non bathroom damage was our fault but VRBO processed the claim without asking me anything about it. The next part is the real issue. Here is the timeline.

March 29- Checkout.
April 2- Bathroom damage mentioned.
April 25- The first mention of anything piano related comes up (footprints on piano).
May 21- Property manager reported to me via email there appears to be no damage to the piano. Not sure who evaluated it.
June 1- VRBO cuts check to owner for bathroom/walls.
June 19- First mention of actual damage to the piano. Piano was evaluated by the company that sold it to the owner.

Now, while there is a possibility that we damaged the piano I know that there was a wedding at the property two weeks after we checked out, aka before the first report of piano damage. I would just say screw it and let them charge the insurance company, but I don't want to pay the $1000 deductible(we have a separate insurance policy for the wedding). Im afraid to fight it though because if I tell the insurance company this series of events they might not cover the claim which could leave me responsible for "a priceless stadium piano" (the owner is very wealthy so I'm sure it wasn't cheap). He also is still holding my $5000 security deposit from 3 months ago. VRBO doesn't want to give me advice on how to handle this and I don't stand a chance against this guy in court considering his resources.

In addition to this he is considering charging me for the time it took the have the damages evaluated. In our contract it says we are responsible for damage and loss DURING the stay but mentions nothing of time to evaluate damage nor how much his time costs. Do other VRBO owners do this? Is it even legal?

What would you do in this situation?
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Intertraffic View Post
damage to the bathroom walls
possibility that we damaged the
Not sure if the non bathroom damage was our fault
if I tell the insurance company this series of events they might not cover
VRBO processed the claim without asking me
VRBO doesn't want to give me advice

owner is very wealthy
don't stand a chance against this guy in court considering his resources
how much you might pay - vs - cost to consult good lawyer
if owner is upset by damages, probably not good situation

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 24, 15 at 2:15 pm
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Intertraffic View Post
Long story but I'm stuck on where to go next.
...Not sure if the non bathroom damage was our fault but...VRBO processed the claim without asking me anything about it. The next part is the real issue. ...

Now, while there is a possibility that we damaged the piano...
I'd think that if I rented a place I'd remember if I'd damaged the bathroom, and especially if I'd left footprints on the piano.

Is there something you're not telling us? A wild party, perhaps?
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
Originally Posted by Intertraffic View Post
Long story but I'm stuck on where to go next.
...Not sure if the non bathroom damage was our fault but...VRBO processed the claim without asking me anything about it. The next part is the real issue. ...

Now, while there is a possibility that we damaged the piano...
I'd think that if I rented a place I'd remember if I'd damaged the bathroom, and especially if I'd left footprints on the piano.

Is there something you're not telling us? A wild party, perhaps?
He already said it was for a wedding. Presumably he was not the only guest.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
I'd think that if I rented a place I'd remember if I'd damaged the bathroom, and especially if I'd left footprints on the piano.

Is there something you're not telling us? A wild party, perhaps?
Yes, it was a wedding. He knew it was a wedding and we paid an additional event fee.

The bathroom damage was "liquid spilled on 3 walls in toilet area" (someone missed the toilet?). Apparently it cost about $3500 to fix because it was venetian plaster. We were never shown the damage or pictures, but like I said VRBO already covered that part.

Last edited by Intertraffic; Jun 24, 15 at 2:49 pm Reason: More info
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Old Jun 24, 15, 3:04 pm
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Oh wow. That sucks. Do you have pictures of the property upon checking out? In HomeAway/AirBnb I think it's smart to take pictures of everything when leaving.

Your best option is to pay up to consult a lawyer-not to fight the guy at this point, but to see what options do you have.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 3:06 pm
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I would have liked to take pictures but it was an 11,000 square foot estate on a few acres of land and we used most areas of the house.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 3:11 pm
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I'd love to know what the owner considers "a priceless stadium piano". It sounds like an oxymoron to me. A US$200,000 Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand would not sound any better than any other concert grand in a stadium, where its sound would be completely lost.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Intertraffic View Post
Yes, it was a wedding. He knew it was a wedding and we paid an additional event fee.

The bathroom damage was "liquid spilled on 3 walls in toilet area" (someone missed the toilet?). Apparently it cost about $3500 to fix because it was venetian plaster. We were never shown the damage or pictures, but like I said VRBO already covered that part.
You missed one question. If you were there I'm pretty sure you would have noticed if someone was dancing on the piano. Were they?

If they were, hand them a bill for your $5,000 loss.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 7:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
You missed one question. If you were there I'm pretty sure you would have noticed if someone was dancing on the piano. Were they?

If they were, hand them a bill for your $5,000 loss.
The OP already said it was a wedding on an 11,000 square foot estate.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 10:30 pm
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Originally Posted by rjque View Post
The OP already said it was a wedding on an 11,000 square foot estate.
Which doesn't address the question. 11,000 sq ft estate or not, you organized the event, you were there, you would have noticed if the party was getting out of hand and people dancing on the furniture.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
Which doesn't address the question. 11,000 sq ft estate or not, you organized the event, you were there, you would have noticed if the party was getting out of hand and people dancing on the furniture.
Im not sure you're grasping the size of this place. You couldnt hear a person scream from the other side of the house. There was a casita. There was a massive pool and hot tub. The wedding party stayed there for 2 days before the wedding and drank and there were nearly 100 people at the reception. So no, I never saw anybody dancing on the piano. But, it might have happened. I dont know, I guess I was busy getting married.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 3:38 am
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But, back to the topic. Considering this timeline of events and considering there was another wedding in between my stay and the reported damage, would you cough up the $1,000 deductible basically as insurance that this doesn't wind up out of the insurers hands and into court. Or would you try to fight it? Like I said, I DONT KNOW IF IT OCCURRED DURING MY STAY.

Also, has anyone charged or been charged for the time it takes a property manager to get estimates for damages to a VRBO or AirBNB? My insurance told him he could file for time but they probably wouldn't cover it which would leave me liable for whatever he decides his time is worth.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 6:49 am
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Cautionary tale here: renting a large, luxurious private home for a raucous party might be fraught with unforeseen liability.

This doesn't seem like a situation for which resolution can easily be secured from message board posters. I see attorneys in your future.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 9:29 am
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Last edited by AllanJ; Jun 25, 15 at 9:37 am
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